Pharma capital investments round-up

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Investigational new drug, Food and drug administration, Mds inc.

This week has seen several companies unveil significant capital
investments in new production and research units, and once again
production facilities for biological drugs - currently said to be
suffering from undercapacity - feature strongly.

A new player on the contract biomanufacturing scene - France's LemnaGene​ - has opened its new laboratory and biomanufacturing facility in the incubation space for new projects, located in Lyon.

The company specialises in making proteins in the aquatic plant organism Spirodela​, commonly known as duckweed, and has also just produced its first transgenic Spirodela​ containing genes of interest to industrial partners. The company was only formed in October 2003, and has three validation partnerships in place for protein production in this plant-based system.

Meanwhile, US biotechnology company Biolex​ has just opened a new 4,500- square-foot clinical manufacturing facility in Pittsboro, North Carolina, that will have capacity sufficient to produce one million doses per year of alpha interferon, a recombinant human protein used to treat infectious diseases such as hepatitis C.

Biolex is developing alpha interferon as its lead product. It has initiated current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) production of the protein and expects to file an investigational new drug application (IND) with the US Food and Drug Administration during 2004.

The facility will also be used to make clinical-scale quantities of the other protein therapeutics Biolex is expressing for its biopharmaceutical partners.

Drug delivery company GelStat​ has opened its 2,000-square-foot R&D laboratory in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The US firm specialises in developing gel-based therapeutics that are dosed and retained under the tongue using a proprietary disposable dispenser.

An initial over-the-counter (OTC) product to treat migraine based on this OraDose technology is already in clinical testing.

In addition to the work on OraDose,the new unit will conduct research on GelStat's developmental drug delivery portfolio.

And in Japan, Kirin Brewery​ has announced that it will establish its Pharmaceutical Frontier Laboratory, a facility for pharmaceutical research and development activities, on 1 October.

Located in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, the new facility will carry out long-term technology development activities focusing on next-generation drug discoveries.It will have 15 researchers by 2006.

Finally, Canadian scientific instrumentation company MDS Sciex​ has announced plans to open a new open a new manufacturing facility in Singapore that will complement its existing plant in Concord, Ontario.

The new facility in Singapore will become operational in 2005 and will initially make MDS Sciex' Cellular Analysis (MiWave) product line. A transition of selected mass spectrometer manufacturing will start in 2006.

The company said that the Singapore facility will manufacture its lower complexity, higher volume instruments while the more complex instruments will continue to be manufactured in the Concord facility.

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